Revamping our working styles, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an opportunity to upskill as we adapt to a new tomorrow of ‘remote working’. Despite social distancing, as designers and architects, we are leveraging technology to enable communication and virtual collaboration routines with peers and stakeholders, mitigating the impact of the situation and keeping our work afloat.
As the lockdown enters its fourth phase and slowly eases out, architecture and design firms are moving towards increasing skill-based productivity. Utilising a gamut of virtual meetings and cloud-based software, they are conducting client meetings, while planning drawings and deliverables and more… through remote working. Challenges and drawbacks of conventional methods of working have been exposed, specifically within the building industry, where two-thirds of all project value remains at risk due to cost and time overruns that are caused by gaps in communication, fragmented workflows and multiple inefficiencies in how we collaborate, especially at the design stage. A significant lesson for the post-lockdown practice has been an increase in productivity as a result of the elimination of unnecessary in-person meetings.
A paradigm change has been brought forward by the adoption of immersive tech, which allows one to review, modify and experience design in tandem, shorten project timelines considerably, and undertake product selection without having to rely on physical mock-ups, in-person site visits, and frequent travelling. Communication across different geographical locations is now just a click away when something similar to this voice chat software is used. It can help reduce inefficiencies, save time and money, and take better decisions – not only during this pandemic, but in the future too. In a recent webinar, Kulin Kapadia, founder of Alcove designs, shared that 70% of the work required for a project’s construction can be managed off-site and be enabled through virtual collaboration, while the remaining 30% is the physical on-site execution, which is enabled after mapping the different stages of a project.
As Planet Earth finally begins to breathe again, AEC industry practices will start progressing in a more sustainable manner. A bulk of the functions procuring the actual act of building can be undertaken in a way that is remotely executed in a time and cost-efficient manner, while being environmentally responsible. Instead of relying on tools and methods that are significantly less intuitive, a large number of designers, MEP consultants, project managers and even real estate offices are now exploring new tools to find sustainable ways of working.
While there may not be a permanent switch, there will definitely be a shift. New ways of work culture will reshape workstyles – meetings, discussions and even deliverables – as people move towards remote working being the default mode. In fact, the transition from traditional workspaces to remote working will provide significant benefits in the long run – amongst them the clear skies that we are seeing today in our cities after years.
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